update - The DfE announced in July 2019 that it is to replace the existing professional skills tests on teacher training courses with a new system for September 2020 initial teacher training entrants.   
Further information will follow in due course about the governments new approach to assessing the numeracy and literacy of prospective teachers.

The Professional Skills Test

The professional skills tests (skills tests) for prospective teachers assess the core skills that teachers need to fulfil their professional role in schools, rather than the subject knowledge needed for teaching. This is to ensure all teachers are competent in numeracy and literacy, regardless of their specialism.

All current and prospective trainee teachers must pass the skills tests in numeracy and literacy before they can be recommended for the award of qualified teacher status (QTS).

Initial teacher training (ITT) providers are responsible for checking that all trainees meet the current ITT entry requirements for the skills tests, before they start the course.

The skills tests:

  • are in addition to the GCSE grade C or grade 4 equivalence entry requirement
  • are set in the context of the professional role of a teacher
  • assess the use of real data and information which teachers are likely to encounter
  • are computerised and can be taken at PSI skills test approved test centres throughout the UK
  • go through a stringent quality assurance procedure
  • are extensively piloted and the performance of each test is regularly monitored

You can find all the information about QTS tests, including practice tests and how to book one, here: http://sta.education.gov.uk/